Derek Chauvin: Family has received no updates after stabbing, attorney says

Derek Chauvin

An attorney for Derek Chauvin, convicted of murdering George Floyd, said on Saturday that the family of the former Minneapolis police officer has received no updates from prison officials after he was stabbed in an Arizona prison on Friday.

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“I have not heard from the Bureau of Prisons at all,” attorney William Mohrman told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis on Saturday. Mohrman said his office has attempted to contact officials from the Federal Bureau of Prisons “regarding the media reports of an attack on Mr. Chauvin, and we have not heard anything back.”

Another of Chauvin’s attorneys, Gregory M. Erickson, criticized the prison bureau’s lack of transparency, according to The Associated Press.

The attack happened Friday at around 12:30 p.m. MST at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson, a medium security prison, the AP reported. Chauvin, 47, was seriously injured but is expected to survive, Brian Evans, a spokesman for the office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, said in a statement.

The source spoke with the AP on the condition of anonymity because they were not publicly allowed to share details of the attack. The Bureau of Prisons acknowledged in a statement to the news organization that there was an attack but did not name the inmate.

In a statement obtained by the AP, the Bureau of Prisons said that employees who responded to the incident contained the area and performed “life-saving measures” prior to the inmate being taken to the hospital. The agency did not name the inmate.

Visitation at the prison was suspended beginning on Saturday “until further notice,” Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesperson Emery Nelson told CNN.

Chauvin has been serving a 21-year federal sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights and a 22½-year state sentence for second-degree murder, the Star Tribune reported. Floyd, who was Black, died on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis, while pinned under the knee of Chauvin. The incident occurred outside of a convenience store where Floyd was suspected of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill, KOLD-TV reported.

Floyd’s death ignited days of protests and riots nationwide.

In August 2022, Chauvin was transferred from Minnesota to the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson, Arizona, the Star Tribune reported. The facility, which houses 382 inmates according to its website, has been plagued by security lapses and staffing shortages, according to the AP.

“As an outsider, I view this lack of communication with his attorneys and family members as completely outrageous,” Erickson said in a statement to the AP. “It appears to be indicative of a poorly run facility and indicates how Derek’s assault was allowed to happen.”

One Minnesota corrections official, who requested anonymity, told the Star Tribune that Chauvin would likely be housed in a special section of any prison -- whether it was located in Arizona or Minnesota.

“It would be standard practice that he would be separated from the general population, especially someone who is high profile and especially in a case with national prominence,” the corrections official said.

“It’s not clear to me how this happened.”

On Nov. 20, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Chauvin’s latest attempt to vacate his murder conviction, the Star Tribune reported.

Chauvin is the latest high-profile prisoner to be attacked at a federal prison.

Former sports doctor Larry Nasser was stabbed by an inmate on July 9, 2023, in Florida. In 2018, former Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger was killed on Oct. 30, 2018, shortly after being transferred to a federal prison in West Virginia.

Three men were later indicted in connection with the fatal beating of the 89-year-old.